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About Joan Druett
Call it destiny. In 1984, while exploring the tropical island of Rarotonga, Joan Druett slipped into the hole left by the roots of a large uprooted tree, and at the bottom discovered the grave of a young American whaling wife, who had died at the age of 24 in January 1850. It was a life-changing experience for Joan. Her immediate interest in the subject of whaling captains’ wives at sea was encouraged by a Fulbright fellowship, which led to five months of research in New Bedford and Edgartown, Massachusetts; Mystic, Connecticut; and San Francisco, California. The result was her study of whaling captains’ wives under sail, Petticoat Whalers.
The success of this book and a companion volume, She Was a Sister Sailor, was followed by Hen Frigates: Wives of Merchant Captains Under Sail, which was researched and written during a William Steeple Davis Residency at Orient, Long Island, New York. This last book was given a New York Public Library “Best to Remember” Award, while She Was a Sister Sailor won the John Lyman Award for “Best Book of American Maritime History.” Another study, She Captains, Joan’s groundbreaking work in the field of seafaring women, was also recognized by a L. Byrne Waterman Award.
While on Long Island, Joan Druett was also a consultant for an exhibition called “The Sailing Circle: 19th-Century Seafaring Women from New York,” which was co-sponsored by the Three Village Historical Society and Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, New York, and which received substantial funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This project won the Albert Corey Award, which is infrequently granted by the American Association for State and Local History for works “that best display the qualities of vigor, scholarship, and imagination.”
The Stout Fellowship at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, that followed, led to Joan’s study of a disastrous whaling voyage that was commanded by officers from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and crewed by Pacific Islanders. The book that resulted, called In the Wake of Madness: The Murderous Voyage of the Whaleship Sharon, inspired a strong interest in the Pacific Islanders who sailed on Euro-American ships. This led to further research in Australia, the United States, Europe, and the East Indies, funded by Creative New Zealand and the Stout Trust. Her biography of an extraordinary Polynesian star navigator, Tupaia, the Remarkable Story of Captain Cook’s Polynesian Navigator, which resulted from this, won the general nonfiction prize in the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards, and has been translated into Chinese and French.
Her latest publication is The Notorious Captain Hayes: The Remarkable Story of William Henry “Bully” Hayes, Pirate of the Pacific.
Joan is married to Ron Druett, a highly regarded maritime artist.
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It is 1864, and Captain Thomas Musgrave’s schooner, the Grafton, has just wrecked on Auckland Island, a forbidding piece of land 285 miles south of New Zealand. Battered by year-round freezing rain and constant winds, it is one of the most inhospitable places on earth. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death.
Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island, another ship runs aground during a storm. Separated by only twenty miles and the island’s treacherous, impassable cliffs, the crews of the Grafton and the Invercauld face the same fate. And yet where the Invercauld’s crew turns inward on itself, fighting, starving, and even turning to cannibalism, Musgrave’s crew bands together to build a cabin and a forge—and eventually, to find a way to escape.
Using the survivors’ journals and historical records, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett brings to life this extraordinary untold story about leadership and the fine line between order and chaos.
In May 1841, the Massachusetts whaleship Sharon set out for the whaling ground of the northwestern Pacific. A year later, while most of the crew was out hunting, Capt. Howes Norris was brutally murdered. When the men in the whaleboats returned to the ship, they found four crew members on board, three of whom were covered in blood, the other screaming from atop the mast.
Single-handedly, the third officer launched a surprise attack to recapture the Sharon, killing two of the attackers and subduing the other. An American investigation into the murder was never conducted—even when the Sharon returned home three years later, with only four of the original twenty-nine-man crew on board.
Now, an award-winning maritime historian dramatically re-creates the mystery of the ill-fated whaleship—and reveals a voyage filled with savagery under the command of one of the most ruthless captains to sail the high seas.
“When the American whaleship Sharon arrived at Sydney in December 1842, the world first heard of the shocking murder of the captain by several Pacific island natives serving on the crew. Chalking it up to the savage nature of the islanders, no one bothered to investigate. Druett, a widely published maritime historian, retells the familiar story of how the mutineers were overcome but delves deeper into the details of the infamous expedition . . . Druett’s account of the incident will appeal to those looking for a good drama, but also to those analytically minded skeptics inclined to ask questions and dig below the surface.” —Booklist
“Shocking and very satisfying.” —Richard Zack, author of The Pirate Hunter
In The Discovery of Tahiti, Joan Druett follows up her prize-winning biography of the remarkable priestly navigator, Tupaia, by bringing this extraordinary story to life.
A tiny fishing village in a distant land.
A London nightclub dancer stumbles into the local clinic with the famous fire-fighter who carried her to New Zealand. The wife of an American shipping tycoon is on board his new luxury yacht as it battles the storm to reach the village. The young wife of a wine-maker struggles through mud, wind and rain to call for help, as her husband has been mortally hurt.
All three women are in labor.
All three women give birth to baby girls. The clinic is destroyed by the storm, so no records survive. No one knows which baby belongs to which mother.
Twenty-one years later, the American billionaire kidnaps all three young women, along with the men who were there when they were born, and takes them to sea on his yacht, convinced that his wife claimed the wrong baby. He is determined to find which girl is really his daughter.
But the mega-yacht is old, and breaks down easily. As the strange voyage progresses through tropical Polynesia to New Zealand, crisis after crisis overtakes them. They are being stalked by something malign. Storms arrive and the engines give out. Reefs and atolls threaten.
There’s not just a question of identity at stake, but of survival, too.
The incredible true story of William 'Bully' Hayes, the so-called 'Pirate of the Pacific': a story that separates the myth from the man.
Famous throughout the Pacific, from the US to Australia and all points in between, Captain Bully Hayes has been the inspiration for writers ranging from Robert Louis Stevenson to James A. Michener and Frank Clune. Rousing films have been based on his life, and his name adorns bars and hotels all over the Pacific.
But the truth is both less noble and more intriguing than the myth. The Hayes of legend was a product of the popular press at the time, the construction of editors who were determined to create a romantic figure to feed their readers' appetites. This, the first proper biography of this legendary nineteenth-century figure, simultaneously sorts the facts from the fantasy and recounts an amazing true story of a genuine rogue and adventurer, against the backdrop of the Pacific during the great age of sail and trade.
Oriental adventurer Captain Rochester spun an entrancing tale to Jerusha, seafaring daughter of Captain Michael Gardiner — a story of a money ship, hidden in the turquoise waters of the South China Sea, which was nothing less than the lost trove of the pirate Hochman. As Jerusha was to find, though, the clues that pointed the way to fabled riches were strange indeed — a haunted islet on an estuary in Borneo, an obelisk with a carving of a rampant dragon, a legend of kings and native priests at war, and of magically triggered tempests that swept warriors upriver. And even if the clues were solved, the route to riches was tortuous, involving treachery, adultery, murder, labyrinthine Malayan politics … and, ultimately, Jerusha’s own arranged marriage.
Joan Druett, bestselling author of many award-winning books, including Island of the Lost, Tupaia, She Captains, and the Wiki Coffin mystery series, paints an epic drama of fortune-hunting in the South China Sea during the first two decades of the nineteenth century. The Money Ship is a fast-moving novel on a sprawling canvas that spans three oceans and a myriad of exotic ports. As the pages turn, Jerusha voyages from the smuggling and fishing port of Lewes, Sussex to Boston in its glittering heyday, then back to newly settled Singapore, until her quest for love and pirate treasure comes to a spine-chilling climax in the benighted lands of Borneo.
Tupaia sailed with Cook from Tahiti, piloted the Endeavour across the South Pacific, and interceded on behalf of the European voyagers with the warrior Maori of New Zealand, interpreting local rituals and ceremonies. Joseph Banks, the botanist with Cook's expedition, is famous for describing the manners and customs of the natives, but much of the credit rightfully belongs to Tupaia. Indeed, he could aptly be called the Pacific's first anthropologist.
Despite all this, Tupaia's colorful tale has never been part of the popular Captain Cook legend. This prize-winning book tells the true story of how Tupaia's contributions changed the history of the Pacific.
FIRST ILLUSTRATED DIGITAL EDITION
U.S. Exploring Expedition linguist Wiki Coffin sails with the famous convoy of ships toward Brazil, where he faces a whole new set of trials and tribulations, not the least being blamed for the sudden grave illness of a fellow crewman. But soon his own fate will be the least of his problems.
As the great flagship Vincennes leads the convoy under the dubious command of eccentric captain Charles Wilkes toward a dramatic entrance in the port of Rio, careless maneuvering leads one of the vessels to run afoul of a Salem trading ship.
The trader is owned and commanded by none other than the famous and larger-than-life Captain William Coffin, father to Wiki and sailor of all seven seas (plus another dozen or so he's managed to invent in his years of telling tall tales). The encounter sets in motion a series of chaotic events that reunite Coffin with his illegitimate half-Maori son and that will see two men dead, Captain Coffin on trial for murder, and Wiki working feverishly to unmask the real killers before the Expedition sails on—leaving his father at the mercy of an unforgiving Brazilian court.
And by her side hung a glittering sword
In her belt two daggers, well armed for war
Was this female smuggler
Was this female smuggler who never feared a scar.
If a "hen frigate" was any ship carrying a captain's wife, then a "she captain" is a bold woman distinguished for courageous enterprise in the history of the sea. "She captains," who infamously possessed the "bodies of women and the souls of men," thrilled and terrorized their shipmates, doing "deeds beyond the valor of women." Some were "bold and crafty pirates with broadsword in hand." Others were sirens, too, like the Valkyria Princess Alfhild, whom the mariners made rover-captain for her beauty. Like their male counterparts, these astonishing women were drawn to the ocean's beauty -- and its danger.
In her inimitable, yarn-spinning style, award-winning historian Joan Druett tells us what life was like for the women who dared to captain ships of their own, don pirates' garb, and perform heroic and hellacious deeds on the high seas. We meet Irish raider Grace "Grania" O'Malley -- sometimes called "the bald Grania" because she cut her hair short like a boy's -- who commanded three galleys and two hundred fighting men. Female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read were wanted by the law. Armed to the teeth with cutlasses and pistols, they inspired awe and admiration as they swaggered about in fancy hats and expensive finery, killing many a man who cowered cravenly before them.
Lovelorn Susan "Put on a jolly sailor's dress/And daubed her hands with tar/To cross the raging sea/On board a man of war" to be near her William. Others disguised themselves for economic reasons. In 1835, Ann Jane Thornton signed on as a ship's steward to earn the fair wage of nine dollars per month. When it was discovered that she was a woman, the captain testified that Jane was a capital sailor, but the crew had been suspicious of her from the start, "because she would not drink her grog like a regular seaman."
In 1838, twenty-two-year-old Grace Darling led the charge to rescue nine castaways from the wreck of the Forfarshire (the Titanic of its day). "I'll save the crew!" she cried, her courageous pledge immortalized in a torrent of books, songs, and poems. Though "she captains" had been sailing for hundreds of years by the turn of the twentieth century, Scotswoman Betsey Miller made headlines by weathering "storms of the deep when many commanders of the other sex have been driven to pieces on the rocks."
From the warrior queens of the sixth century B.C. to the women shipowners influential in opening the Northwest Passage, Druett has assembled a real-life cast of characters whose boldness and bravado will capture popular imagination. Following the arc of maritime history from the female perspective, She Captains' intrepid crew sails forth into a sea of adventure.
But circumstances are against him. As Wiki has been banished from the Swallow to the Peacock, where he is forced to battle racism in the wardroom, and vengeful sealers on the decks, the puzzle is surely too much even for this experienced sleuth. Then Wiki is tested even further when he uncovers a brutal murder on board. To solve this double mystery, Wiki is forced to make a dangerous voyage to the utmost fringes of the beckoning ice.